The City of Literature Tour

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JOURNEY through our UNESCO City of Literature with its rich history of authors, publishers and books,
EXPLORE the creative ways that Melbourne’s literature has been expressed over time through the writers, festivals, shops, galleries, architecture, typography and art.
HEAR literature from stories, poems, books, places connected to the streets of Melbourne. We ourselves write books that have won awards.
school tours allocate LITERARY IDENTITIES to participating students of people who helped create our literary city.

SEE  –  Also our many SCHOOL PROGRAMS.  e.g Explorer, Federation, Aboriginal, Early Melbourne, Lanes, ‘Runner’, Street Art and more.

Our book club had a fantastic walk around Melbourne. Our leader Meyer kept us entertained with interesting information and hidden gems. A must do for anyone interested in Melbourne, history, or literature. We ended feeling delighted and surprised .Dienne 
Thanks for taking our students on this fascinating tour. Our visiting students were thrilled and loved the history and the literary identities you gave to each student.   Tao Nan School (Singapore)
The City of Literature Tour was terrific and I’ve highly recommended it to friends. I look forward to going back to some of the places we visited. Doug and Di McCarthy
I’m still trying to file away all the information from yesterday’s Literature Walk.  It was wonderful and I learnt so much, including how much more I need to learn. Marilyn 

Some of the books, authors, settings and literature connections that we may explore in our CBD tour:

A Scandal in Bohemia. Gideon Haig 2018.
A Scandal in Bohemia. Sherlock Homes 1891.
The Portrait of Molly Dean. Katherine Kovacic 2018.
Monash. The Outsider who Won a War. Roland Perry
My Brother Jack. George Johnston.
The Passion and the people. Bringing our Ancestors Home by Jim Berg.
The Rabbits by John Marsden and Shaun Tan.
The Mystic Life of Alfred Deakin.  Al Gabay.
Ross and Dot Reading, Peter Reid and the Green bookstore.

Melbourne Dreaming. Meyer Eidelson
Monash. The Outsider Who won a War. Roland Perry. The Fallen (The Ode) by Laurence Binyan 1914.
The Monster petition by Vida Goldstein.
The forgotten rebels of Eureka by Claire Wright.
You Daughters of Freedom by Australians who won the vote and Inspired the world. Claire Wright 2018.
The Rise of the creative class by Richard Florida.
The founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia by James Boyce.he Rise
Aspro. How a family business grew up by Alexander Barrie.
Vali Myers A Memoir by Gianni Menichetti.
The Max Factor & My stamp on life by Max Stern
Books Tanks and Radios by Meyer Eidelson
Zines by the Sticky Institute
Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood  (Phryne Fisher series).
Earthly Delights by Kerry Greenwood. (Corinne Chapman series (8)
The Golden Girl by Betty Cuthbert.
The Unforgiving Minute by Ron Clarke

1984 by George Orwell
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

The Coles Funny Book. Edward Coles.
Utopian Man. Lisa Lang.
McRobertsonland by Jill Robertson.
Runner by Robert Newton.
Larrikin Crook. The Rise and Fall of Squizzy Taylor by Hugh Anderson
The Pyjama Girl Mystery. Truth Lies and Obsessions by Richard Evans 2004.
The Gun Alley Murder. Truth Lies and the failure of Justice by Kevin Morgan 2005.
Dangerous Language: Sulari Gentil

Writers in Hand.  Athrnaeum Theatre.
Helvetica Riddle. Centreway Arcade.
Shakespeare  & Newspaper House Mural by Napier Waller.
The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey.
Rare. A Life among Antiquarian Books by  Stuart Kell
The Hill of Content by A. H. Spencer.
Monkey Grip by Helen Garner
Possum Magic by Mem Fox
The Toff series. John Creasey
The Mystery of the Hansom Cab. Fergus Hume
Blockbuster. Fergus Hume and The Mystery of the Hansom Cab. Lucy Sussex

Books set in the streets of Melbourne

Novels set in Melbourne

Publishers of Melbourne

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This tour is included in Lonely Planet's Best Tours 2015.

Our Literary Tour was included in Lonely Planet’s Best Tours.


Great books to read about Melbourne
Some well known Melburnians were asked what books they thought most crystallized the essence of their city.

  • Melbourne Writers Festival director Steve Grimwade:  Christos Tsiolkas’ Loaded and ‘The Slap’; Poets Alicia Sometimes’ St Kilda, Kieran Carroll’s ‘Talking to Richmond Station’  Shane Maloney’s trilogy featuring Murray Whelan.
  • Author Robert Newton: Stiff‘, the first of the Murray Whelan trilogy,
  • Author Kate Holden: Helen Garner’s ‘Monkey Grip’
  • Media figure Libbi Gorr: Jeff Apter’s new book, ‘Shirl: The Life of Legendary Larrikin – Graeme ‘Shirley’ Strachan‘.
  • Novelist Honey Brown: Lily Bragge’s memoir, ‘My Dirty Shiny Life’
  • Author Toni Jordan: Michelle de Kretser’s third novel, ‘The Lost Dog’
  • The Big Issue books editor: Toni Jordan’s latest novel, ‘Nine Days’
  • Writer-performer Jane Clifton and ABC Books and Arts Daily presenter:  Fergus Hume’s 1886 thriller ‘The Mystery of a Hansom Cab’
  • Michael Cathcart:  Fergus Hume’s 1886 thriller ‘The Mystery of a Hansom Cab’
  • Author and birdwatcher Sean Dooley:  H.W. Wheelwright’s 1861 ‘Bush Wanderings of a Naturalist’
  • Bookseller and writer Corrie Perkin:  Kristin Otto’s ‘Yarra: A Diverting History of Melbourne’s Murky River’
  • Historian David Day: Tony Moore’s recent’ Dancing with Empty Pockets’
  • Poet and broadcaster Alicia Sometimes: Jeff and Jill Sparrow’s ‘Radical Melbourne: A Secret History’.
  • Writer and bookseller Josephine Rowe:  Lisa Lang’s ‘Utopian Man’
    John Bailey, The Age, August 12, 2012

Read about the rich history of Melbourne’s books and writers from early Melbourne until today by Des Cowley and John Arnold (
In Flinders Lane, near Roach’s store,Were bogg’d a dozen, less or more;
Two dapper dames, return’d from shopping,
Were, much against their wishes, stopping:
A brace of New Chums, sprucely drest,
In long-tail blues, – their very best, –
Look’d rueful at their spatter’d breeches,
Vow’d Melbourne’s Streets were beastly ditches

George Wright’s poem ‘Adventures on a winter’s night in Melbourne 1857

The creative imagining of Melbourne began when John Batman sailed up the Yarra River on 8 June 1835 and wrote in his journal ‘this will be the place for a village’. The figures of John Batman and John Pascoe Neil1 - CopyFawkner, generally cited as the founders of Melbourne, have been largely passed over by literary writers. Batman was the subject of the play Batmania (1997) and his courtship of his future wife Eliza features in Robert Close’s novel Eliza Callaghan (1957). Fawkner is a minor character in Eric Lambert’s The five bright stars (1954). However, the convict William Buckley (1780-1856) has provided writers with one of their most enduring characters. The title of James Bonwick’s biography, published in the year of its subject’s death, William Buckley, the life of the Wild White Man and his Port Phillip Black Friends (1856), was followed by Edward Williams’ De Buckley, or incidents of Australian life (1887), Marcus Clarke’s ‘William Buckley, the wild white man’ (1871) and John Bernard O’Hara’s Songs of the south: second series: The wild white man and other poems (1895), and in the 20th century Alan Garner’s Strandloper (1996), Barry Hill’s award-winning book of poetry Ghosting William Buckley (1993), and Craig Robertson’s Buckley’s hope (1980).

Richard Howitt, an early settler to the Port Phillip District, published Impressions of Australia Felix (1845). ‘The native woman’s lament’, narrated by a Kulin woman, is a sympathetic lyric about the loss of traditional hunting lands. A similar sentiment is to be found in Kinahan Cornwallis’ Yarra Yarra, or, the wandering aborigine: a poetical narrative (1857). ‘To the river Yarra’, on the other hand, celebrates the river and the new European settlement on its banks.

Thomas McCombie’s minor novel, The colonist in Australia, or, The adventures of Godfrey Arabin (1845), deals in part with his experiences in the Port Phillip District. Of greater significance is George Henry Haydon’s novel The Australian emigrant (1854), based on his Five years’ experience in Australia Felix (1846), a factual account of his time in the colony. Rolf Boldrewood’sOld Melbourne memories (1884) includes memories of the Melbourne he came to in 1841. Georgiana McCrae arrived in the same year and provides in her journals, edited by her grandson Hugh McCrae and published as Georgiana’s journal in 1934, a detailed account of Melbourne in the 1840s. With her son George Gordon, she is also the subject of the title poem in Christina Mawdesley’s collection The corroboree tree(1944). More

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